Samara rescues baby cheetah

2013-07-26 15:21

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2013-07-11 09:32

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Cape Town – Wildlife conservation is challenging at best. Samara Private Game Reserve, in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape remains committed though - and is fortunate to be the home of the extremely endangered Cheetah.

This June Samara's cheetah conservation success story was fuelled by animal instinct.

Bellini, one of Samara’s wild cheetah females who has unfortunately not had a single one of her cubs survive before - gave birth and decided to hide her new blessing under a bush closer to the Karoo Lodge than usual.

Sarah Tompkins owner of Samara said they don’t normally interfere with the animals but "it was difficult to hear the little thing mewing with hunger".

Given Bellini's poor track record with her cubs, the lodge staff decided to intervene.

Meet little Nala, which means hope. 

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“The staff took her into their homes and hearts and fed her every one-and-a-half hours through day and night. She is now almost 6-weeks-old and seems to be thriving,” said Tompkins.


Samara works hand in hand with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to ensure that these highly endangered species are given the best chance of survival.


Tompkins said only one in five cheetah cubs are female and they felt it is crucial to protect Nala. 

Before Samara's efforts it has been estimated that the last wild Cheetah in the area was seen 125 years ago as Cheetahs were heavily hunted in the Great Karoo and Eastern Cape areas.

The Reserve's most successful rehabilitation story has been with Sibella, a cheetah born in the wild who nearly lost its life at the hands of hunters.

After being savagely treated in captivity, she was fortunate enough to be rescued and underwent life-saving surgery and rehabilitation at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust.

In December 2003, Sibella started a new chapter in her life when she, along with two males, was released into Samara. Despite suffering the occasional twinge from her previous injuries, Sibella has proved herself to be a capable hunter and has successfully reared 18 cubs in the time she has been at Samara.

As such, she epitomises the spirit of Samara as she plays a vital role in the rejuvenation of a once endangered existence. This exceptional cat has now contributed to 2% of the wild Cheetah population in South Africa. Other endangered species on the reserve include the Blue Crane and Cape Mountain Zebra - visit the Samara site to learn more about their conservation efforts.

If little Nala survives and you would like to be part of her life going forward, please email Sarah Tompkins at

Read more on:    karoo  |  eastern cape  |  travel south africa  |  lifestyle  |  bush  |  weekend escapes

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